Old West Lifestyle & Stories

Teddy Roosevelt: The Cowboy President

On September 14, 1901 with the death of President William McKinley, his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as the 26th President of the United States. Roosevelt was a very unlikely man to become the leader of our country.

It was just 17 years earlier that a double tragedy struck… Within a 12 hour period both his wife and his mother died. Trying to get as far away from Washington as possible, and abandoning his political career, Roosevelt went to the Badlands of the Dakota Territory to become a rancher. Although he never made money as a rancher, the experience did change his life.
He never looked like a cowboy. But he had the soul of a cowboy, and gained the respect of his fellow-ranchers. When a gang stole his riverboat, he went after them, and weeks later brought them to justice. A bully tried to make Roosevelt buy him a drink by calling him “four eyes,” Roosevelt proceeded to punch out the bully.
After three years as a rancher, Roosevelt returned to Washington with a new zeal for life. He later said that were it not for his experience in the West he would not have had the drive to become the President of the United States.
Roosevelt’s experience out west also instilled in him an appreciation of the natural beauty of the West and the need to preserve it for future generations. During his time as President, Roosevelt gave the public 230 million acres of national forest land. And he doubled the number of national parks, including Yosemite. 
Although Theodore Roosevelt spent the vast majority of his life back east, he always considered himself a westerner at heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *